The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today the upcoming completion of the final pilot of the Multi-Band Radio initiative. Four pilots have been conducted across the nation with the latest version of the multi-band radio, which will culminate in the radio’s ultimate transition to the emergency response community.
The multi-band radio enables police officers, firefighters, and other emergency response and management personnel to use a single mobile radio to communicate with multiple agencies and jurisdictions operating on different radio bands. The multi-band radio can replace up to five different radios, at a cost comparable to just one of the existing high-end portable radios. Such advancements provide responders with cutting-edge communication capabilities to respond to emergencies.
“The final pilot in Chicago provides the opportunity to integrate all we have learned in previous tests and provide the updated multi-band radio to Chicago’s finest for testing,” said Tom Chirhart, Program Manager for S&T’s Multi-Band Radio Program. “Pilot programs allow DHS to work closely with local responders to ensure the technologies align with their unique needs.”
Previous pilots were conducted in Phoenix, New Orleans and the Miami-Dade areas. Feedback and suggestions from users in the emergency management, first responder and critical infrastructure communities have been incorporated into the radio’s design.
S&T’s Multi-Band Radio initiative has sparked industry development of multi-band radio technology, now commercially available and being developed and marketed by three manufacturers—with more on the horizon.
“DHS is working to ensure that the best radio equipment is available to emergency responders at all levels,” said Chirhart. “Having multi-band radios with various options and capabilities available to agencies will not only improve selection, but will increase competition and drive prices down over time.”
Conducted in partnership with Chicago Police, Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Emergency Management, Illinois State Police, Cook County Sheriff, FEMA, MABAS (Illinois Fire Mutual Aid), and other partners from across the state, the final pilot featured the Harris Corporation’s Unity XG-100P multi-band radio.